One could easily argue that through its first three games of the season, Georgia has been the most impressive team in the country. Yes, it struggled in its opener against Arkansas, but given how the Razorbacks have played since, those struggles don't look as bad. It's probably not a coincidence that things improved in that game for Georgia once Bennett took over for D'Wan Mathis. Bennett brought a calming presence to the offense.
Since those early struggles, the Dawgs have been dominant. The defense allows only 12.3 points per game after wins against Auburn and Tennessee. They've allowed just six points after halftime all year. That was the case again on Saturday when Georgia found itself trailing Tennessee 21-17 at halftime but stormed back to win the game 44-21 thanks to a defense that forced four turnovers and had five sacks in the second half.
Shortly after Georgia's win, it's biggest obstacle in the SEC, and the team it will face this week, Alabama, began its game. Alabama got into a Big 12 shootout -- the kind SEC fans have mocked for years -- when it beat Ole Miss 63-48. While the performance has led many to wonder what's happened to the Alabama defense of old, and if the performance could mean trouble for them down the road, I watched the game and had a different thought entirely.
There's no way Georgia can win a national title this season playing offense the way it is.
It was the same story last season and the year before, but this season was supposed to be different. After watching the offensive revolutions at places like Alabama and LSU, Georgia's Kirby Smart realized he would have to shake things up offensively to compete. So he brought in Todd Monken to modernize Georgia's offense. Then the Bulldogs brought in grad transfer Jamie Newman, and after him came another transfer in former five-star recruit and USC starter J.T. Daniels.
But then a pandemic came, and the offseason Georgia could have used to implement its new offseason was turned on its head. Then Newman opted out, and Daniels' still wasn't ready following a torn ACL last season. That left Georgia in a position where it was starting Mathis to open its season, but after Mathis' slow start, he was replaced by Bennett.
Bennett has not been bad by any means. He's completing 63.1% of his passes and has thrown for 689 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The problem is, those numbers are only good enough to rank him sixth in the SEC in passing efficiency. Such has been the dramatic shift in the offensive landscape of the SEC that merely being good isn't nearly good enough. We live in a time when three of the top five passer efficiency marks in the country reside in the SEC (Alabama's Mac Jones, Mississippi's Matt Corral, and Florida's Kyle Trask).
Georgia's offense has been efficient, but it hasn't been explosive. I use my own explosiveness metric that ranks offenses based on the number of 20+-yard runs it has and 30+-yard passing plays. Right now, Georgia has managed explosive plays on only 1.67% of its plays. That ranks 72nd among the 76 FBS teams to play a game this season. The Dawgs offense is two spots behind No. 70 Vanderbilt (2.05%) for worst in the SEC.
Of course, you can argue that no other team in the SEC has a defense like Georgia's, and that's true. Georgia's defense ranks first in the nation in explosive plays allowed and has yet to allow a single explosive play on the ground. The problem is, no matter how often anybody says it, defense doesn't win championships. At least, not anymore. Having a good defense is still important. It's often what separates the true national title contenders from the pretenders (think Oklahoma in recent years), but a defense alone is not enough.
So while Georgia might be the most impressive team in the country right now, I still don't think it's ready to win a national title. That could change as the season goes on, and the offense takes a possible step forward, but right now, it's simply not good enough.
Worst Decision of the Week
Dabo Swinney's decision to opt for a 61-yard field goal at the end of the first half completely blew up in his face Saturday night. On the one hand, I admire the confidence Swinney has in his kicker to attempt it, but on the other hand, you're dominating the game 21-3. The best-case scenario here is that you go up 24-3. The worst-case scenario is what happened. If you throw a Hail Mary, your best-case scenario is a 28-3 lead, and the worst-case is an interception that is very unlikely to be returned for a touchdown.
To his credit, at least Dabo owned up to it right away.
Black Eye of the Week
Notre Dame offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg was poked in the eye during the first half of the team's 42-26 win over Florida State, and as you can see, the results weren't great! After a trip to the locker room to have the eye looked at, he emerged with a bag of ice on it before returning to the game. Maybe he has a future as a boxer or MMA fighter if this whole football thing doesn't work out.
Worst Uniforms of the Week
What are we doing here, TCU? You have nice uniforms already, so is this your way of rebelling against your parents or something? What is with that shade of purple? And where the hell did that red come from? What was the goal here? You looked like a preschooler whose parents allowed to dress themselves for the first day of school.
I'm not going to say the uniforms are the reason you lost at home to a Kansas State team without its starting quarterback, but, actually, no, I am going to say that. You lost because of the uniforms. Burn them.
Fans of the Week
Photo of the Week
This shot of Bo Pelini leaving the field after LSU's 45-41 loss to Missouri captures everything you need to know about how the defending champions' season is going. Particularly on the side of the ball that Pelini is in charge of, as the LSU defense has allowed 89 points in two games against teams not named Vanderbilt this season.
Rankings Complaint of the Week
If you've read this column before this year, you might have noticed that I haven't been doing the AP Voter of the Week in 2020. The reasoning for it is pretty simple. This year is stupid, especially when it comes to ranking teams. Games are getting postponed, so some teams have played five games while others have played two, and then there are teams getting ranked in the AP Top 25 poll that haven't played at all. So, to criticize any one voter's ballot in a mess of a season like this doesn't seem fair to me.
That said, it's not unfair to judge the entire AP Top 25 poll as a whole (and the Coaches too) for having Florida ahead of Texas A&M this week despite Texas A&M beating the Gators 41-38. Both teams are 2-1 this year, with the Aggies picking up wins over Vanderbilt and a top-5 team in Florida. Its lone loss was to No. 2 Alabama. Florida, meanwhile, has wins over two 1-2 teams in South Carolina and Ole Miss. Its loss is A&M. So why is Florida ranked ahead of a team it lost to and has a worse resume than?
Only because Florida was ranked ahead of it to begin with. This is a perfect example of everybody's biggest complaint about preseason polls. Voters being unwilling to reconsider their beliefs about a team before the season began. Florida might finish the season with a better record than A&M -- I fully expect it to! -- but it's done nothing to deserve being ranked ahead of it now.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
Until the next Monday After!